Turkey’s president says US can count on Ankara after troop pullout
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday his country would be the “only reliable” country left to stabilize Afghanistan after the US pulls out its troops.
Speaking to journalists at an Istanbul airport on Sunday before leaving for Brussels, for the NATO leaders summit Monday, Erdogan also said he would discuss the issue in his first face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden.
“America is preparing to leave Afghanistan soon and from the moment they leave, the only reliable country to maintain the process over there is obviously Turkey,” Erdogan said.
This comes after reports emerged last week that Turkey had offered to keep troops in Afghanistan to protect the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul once US and NATO forces have left.
Concerns among the foreign community have been growing over this issue as the Kabul airport is the main entry and exit point for diplomats and aid workers.
According to AFP, Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkish officials had informed their American counterparts about Ankara’s plans in Afghanistan after the US troop pullout, without providing details.
They are “pleased and happy. We will be able to discuss the Afghanistan process with them,” he said.
AFP meanwhile quoted a Turkish official as having said Turkey’s troops could remain “as long as certain conditions including legal and financial are met.”
“If Turkey is to stay it will do so under which frame: under NATO umbrella or bilateral terms? And if it will be under NATO auspices, under which authorization?” asked the official, who wished to remain anonymous.
The official also confirmed that Western powers were willing to let Turkey stay and protect the Kabul airport.
But, the official added, “why should Turkey try hard if nobody is going to give support? These issues need to be clarified.”
Following last week’s reports on Turkey’s offer, the Taliban on Saturday issued a statement warning against this.
According to the group, should any foreign country decide to keep some troops in Afghanistan, be it for safeguarding embassies or the airport, they will be considered “invaders”.
Former minister Tahir Zuhair calls on Afghans abroad to return home
Tahir Zuhair, a former minister in the previous government has called on Afghans who left the country to return home and urged those who are intent on driving conflict to resolve problems through dialogue.
Speaking at a gathering on Monday in Samangan province, Zuhair also called for unity among the people and for inclusion of all ethnic groups within the government structure.
Samangan officials, who attended the gathering organized to welcome Zuhair into the IEA, called on other key citizens to help develop the country by returning home.
Zuhair has now joined the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA). He said: “All those who left should come back and instead of calling each other bad [names] and spreading hatred, let’s find a way of understanding, let’s reconcile, let’s make peace, let’s negotiate and solve our problems through dialogue.”
Samangan provincial authorities reiterated calls for Afghans who fled the country to return.
“I am very sad for our Afghan brothers who have gone abroad, or those brothers who have fled to the mountains. Our request to all of them is that the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has announced general amnesty, so return to your country and homeland, you are all our brothers,” said Abdulahad Fazli, governor of Samangan province.
“My message to all the opponents of the Islamic Emirate is to use the general amnesty decree of the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to come and unite with the Islamic Emirate and use their energy, strength and understanding in the direction of consolidating the Islamic Emirate and in the direction of settling the country together with us,” said Ahmadullah Badar, Samangan police chief.
“Our message to all those who have gone abroad is that the arms of the Islamic Emirate are open to them to return to their country and serve for the development of the country,” said Mohammad Hashim Shafiq, provincial head of intelligence.
Zuhair meanwhile also said the Islamic Emirate needs to provide security and pave the way for the return of other political and social figures.
Zuhair said however that he has no intention of working in government.
Zuhair was the governor of Bamiyan before becoming the minister of information and culture under the previous government.
IEA’s Ebad tells G5 meeting in Iran no female worker banned in health sector
Health Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Dr. Qalandar Ebad said on Saturday that no female worker has been banned from working in the health sector.
Speaking at the 26th G5 High Level Experts Meeting on Health Cooperation in Tehran, Ebad denied the rumors and called it work of some selfish groups.
“Some selfish circles sometimes spread rumors with the intention of confusing the minds of the society that female health workers are banned from work; while all female workers provide health services to their compatriots in the light of Islamic and Sharia rules to ensure the health of female patients, mothers and children,” Ebad told the meeting.
Ebad also stated that cooperation in the field of health was important, especially in controlled infectious diseases.
“Diseases do not know borders, we must fight such types of phenomenon together,” Ebad said.
Ebad also spoke about the developments and achievements in the health sector and said that the public health ministry has now provided health services in areas where there had been none for years.
“We have now provided the opportunity to provide health services to our compatriots in these areas, in some areas there is still work to be done, so coordination and assistance is needed in this area,” Ebad said.
He also added that Afghanistan is a leading country in the implementation of the Corona vaccine and has made significant achievements in carrying out other routine vaccination and polio vaccination campaigns.
He meanwhile called for support of international partners to help Afghanistan to be represented in the International Health Assembly and the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Organization or EMRO.
“The international partners and the sympathetic countries of Afghanistan should help us in this area so that Afghanistan can be represented in the International Health Assembly and the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Organization or EMRO, which is the right of the Ministry of Health, with this, we will share our health priorities and needs with the international community and find solutions to them,” Ebad added.
The G5 meeting, in Tehran, has brought together Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Tajikistan to boost cooperation in the health sector.
IEA foreign minister meets with Pakistan Army Chief of Staff
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said Sunday that Amir Khan Muttaqi met with General Asim Munir, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, and discussed regional security, ease of movement of people, and issues related to Afghan immigrants.
Pakistan media reported Munir stressed in the meeting with Muttaqi the need for enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan to “effectively” tackle the common challenges of terrorism and extremism.
According to a statement released by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Muttaqi, who is currently in Pakistan on a four-day visit, called on the army chief at his office in Rawalpindi.
The two discussed issues of mutual interest including aspects related to regional security, border management, and formalization of bilateral security mechanisms for improvement in the current security environment.
Pakistan’s army chief also reiterated the need for full support and commitment from the IEA in matters of mutual interest, Geo News reported.
During the meeting, both sides agreed on the importance of maintaining regular contact to strengthen bilateral ties and address issues of common concern.
Later, the army chief reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.
Muttaqi and his delegation met with a number of leaders of Pakistan’s political parties on Saturday evening in Islamabad, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq and other leaders, and discussed bilateral relations and the regional situation.
Muttaqi also met with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, discussing about Afghanistan-Pakistan political-economic, commercial, transit relations and the creation of necessary facilities in these areas. Also, in the meeting, discussions were held regarding the easy movement of Afghan refugees and businessmen in Pakistan, IEA foreign ministry said.
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